Written by Jennifer Kho

In spite of economic troubles, it's an important time to focus on the environment, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said at a solar conference Monday evening.

"Of course we are now facing tough economic times, but that's why we need to focus on solar and the environment ," he said. "We should not listen to those who say that should take a back seat. That's just plain wrong."

For example, California's 2006 global-warming bill -- which aims to bring state greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 -- will boost the economy and increase green jobs, he said.

Speaking at the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, Schwarzenegger said the conference had doubled in size since he last spoke there in 2006, when the event was held in San Jose.

Rachel Barron and Jeff St. John, Greentech Media -- Oct. 13: Solar shares rebounded along with the overall financial markets Monday as news of U.S. and European rescue plans took hold.

During late-day trading, First Solar shares (FSLR) jumped $22.45, or 19.1 percent, to $139.90 per share; SunPower Corp.'s (SPWRA) stock shot up $7.47, or 17.37 percent, to $50.48; LDK Solar's (LDK) stock rose $1.65, or 8.04 percent to $22.20 per share; and Evergreen Solar's (ESLR)increased 58 cents, or 16.86 percent, to $4.03.

He added that he was happy for an excuse to come to San Diego.

"Let me tell you, in San Diego 80 percent of the people voted for me in the recall," he said, referring to the election in 2003 in which Californians voted to recall his predecessor, Gray Davis, and to replace him with the actor. "The other 20 percent never forgave me for my movie, "Hercules in New York," which is completely understandable."

He also mentioned the $18 billion in renewable-energy tax credits that Congress approved -- and President Bush signed -- along with the $700 billion bank bailout plan earlier this month.

"You know something's going on when Congress gets involved," he said. "I was so happy that they finally got their act together in Washington. ... It's about time and it will be great for the industry and great for the nation."

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